September 30, 2021 marks the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. The Chinese Canadian Museum stands in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples to observe and honour this significant day. Today we wear orange, with respect and empathy, for the truths that still need to be told, the ongoing efforts we all must make for reconciliation, and the wrongs of history that must be corrected.
Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has taken place on September 30th to mark the time of year when thousands of Indigenous children across Canada were taken from their homes and sent to residential schools, separated from their families, communities, languages, and cultures. The ongoing findings of remains at residential schools are a stark reminder of the children who never made it home, and of the intergenerational loss and trauma Indigenous peoples continue to experience.
The history of Indigenous peoples and Chinese Canadians are intertwined with stories of cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity as together they faced racism and discrimination as marginalized communities. It is our collective responsibility to more fully understand the atrocities that have occurred on these lands and their impacts today.
The Chinese Canadian Museum will be closed on this day to allow staff an opportunity for learning, reflection, and action to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools. We encourage our community to wear orange and take time to deepen their understanding about the history and legacy of residential schools, and the resilience of Indigenous communities.
To encourage ongoing dialogue and self-reflection, the Chinese Canadian Museum is co-hosting a community premiere of “British Columbia: An Untold History” with our collaborators. This screening will feature episode 1 titled “Change + Resistance” which highlights the perseverance of Indigenous peoples through years of oppression and criminalization in BC. For more information and to register, click here.
More on Truth and Reconciliation:
Orange Shirt Day:
September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, a movement of commemoration inspired by the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor who had her new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Learn more about Orange Shirt Day.